July/August 1983

The Return of the Jedi, WarGames, Blue Thunder, David Thomson on slow cinema, special section on MTV and music videos, Iranian film, Cannes report, Jean-Jacques Beineix, the films of Edgar G. Ulmer, John Waters’s guilty pleasures

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THE RIGHT STRIKES BACK
In the Vietnam Era, movies kneejerked their derision at authority. Now the Right has thundered back. Harlan Jacobson gloms Jedi, WarGames, Blue Thunder, and other new films and finds war lovers under every plot. Harlan Kennedy ponders the trek of Alec Guiness from Ealing Everyman to Star Wars Superman.

THE BIG FIX
As the pop epics speed their way to megagrosses, another tendency slowly rears its head in Hollywood and European films. Time stands still when these pictures get a fix on the modern man watching, waiting, alone with the camera. David Thomson exposes the trend.

AMERICAN FLASHDANCE
MTV is not just a video jukebox for the reviving music industry; it is a home nickelodeon for one art of the future. Richard Corliss and J. Hoberman cast critical eyes and faraway hopes on Music Television. Richard Gehr mines an MTV Aesthetic. In Busby Berkeley and Scopitone, David Ehrenstein finds MTV ancestors. Arlene Zeichner looks inside the business—big and getting bigger—and profiles a dozen top videauteurs. Elliot Schulman visits Bob Giraldi, director of Michael Jackson’s Beat It; and Mary Billard gauges MTV’s cross-pollinating future.

IRAN: CINEMA IN FLAMES
For a while the Shah of Iran could smirk and say: “Ayatollah you so.” The flames of Khomeini’s revolution consumed the celluloid of many talented, not-quite-revolutionary filmmakers. John Motavalli chronicles the rise of Iranian film and the tortured journeys of its strongest artists.

JOURNALS
In Cannes, Mary Corliss inhaled teargas, sat through sloooow movies, and found three promising women directors. In New York, Enrique Fernandez profiles some Cuban-born filmmakers breaking into Anglo-wood.

JEAN-JACQUES BEINEIX
His first film. Diva, was a critical and popular hit. His second. The Moon in the Gutter, evoked the noisiest howls at Cannes since l’Avventura. A conversation with Dan Yakir.

GUILTY PLEASURES
With Pink Flamingoes and Polyester, filmmaker John Waters was the arbiter of bad taste. So what are his secret sins? Marguerite Duras movies!

DAN O’BANNON’S ‘THUNDER’
He and John Carpenter made Dark Star. He created the chest-busting Alien and the killer copter in Blue Thunder. What do you do for an encore? Marc Mancini finds out.

EDGAR G. ULMER
In a land boarded by Edward D. Wood and Billy Wilder lived an ace director of low-budged thrillers and Yiddish classics. By Bill Krohn.

DIANE KURYS
The director of Peppermint Soda has an affecting new hit. Coup de foudre. Dan Yakir interviews Kurys and her pussycat of a star, Miou-Miou.

BOOKS
David Thomson on Irene Selznick. Carrie Rickey on women critics.

BACK TALK
Presenting FILM COMMENT Quiz Number Two (relatively easy this time). Also: the winners and the answers to F.C. Quiz Number One.

INDEPENDENTS
Tales from the crypt: a “new” Pasolini film, a surprise from Hungary, and Philippe Garrel’s Secret Child.

PEOPLE WE LIKE
Ex-stuntman Richard Farnsworth won an Oscar nomination for Comes a Horseman. Now see and savor him in the Canadian film The Grey Fox.

BACK PAGE
A tribute to MoMA’s Margareta Akermark by her friend Joanne Koch.